The Communications Process
All communications, with the exception of exact reprints, follow these steps:
- Initial contact with University Relations and/or Public Information
- Approval of copy
- Typesetting or conversion of your disk
- Proofing by client and editor (often multiple)
- Final corrections, if needed
- Approval of design
- Cost estimate from the printer
- Approval of cost by major budget officer
- Printing and delivery or mailing
University Relations is responsible for strengthening the Pace University Identity System and is seeking the cooperation and support of the University community. Our award-winning publications professionals, Web managers, and public relations staff produce top-quality, cost-effective traditional and digital communications that will enhance your department or program's marketing efforts.We also maintain the University's visual and editorial standards.
If you are using University funds to pay for a marketing communications project of any kind (including publications, advertising,Web content, videos, banners, signs, etc.), you must receive approval for your project from the University Relations Department prior to project initiation.
Questions to Ask as You Begin to Develop Your Communication
When you work with University Relations you will receive professional guidance in the creative process, including writing, editing, design, and production. You should be prepared to discuss the following with University Relations in order to achieve the best service and design for your print communication.
- What is the purpose of your communications project? What do you want your audience to do as a result of this communication? (Visit, register, RSVP, etc.)
- Who is your audience?
- How will your communication be distributed?
- What is your budget?
- What message are you trying to convey?
- When is it due?
- How much copy do you have and who is writing it?
1.What is the purpose of your communications project?
An accurate appreciation of your project's purpose will lead to better plans and better results. The purpose statement is a brief overview of what your project will entail and why it was established, and typically addresses background, scope, and strategy. Be sure the objectives are specific and measurable.
2. Who is your audience?
Many people fail to focus on the audience when they give creative direction. If you are designing a communication for the traditional undergraduate market, it should appeal to the 17 or 18-year-olds who will be viewing the piece. The same is true for the adult market, for alumni and for donors. Make sure your print communication appropriately addresses its intended audience. Communications intended to address all audiences are usually not effective.
3. How will your communication be distributed?
- Are you sending this piece to people who are already familiar with Pace?
- Are you giving the piece to prospective students and parents at an Open House session?
- Are you mailing this piece as a self-mailer, or will you be inserting it into envelopes?
- Will your piece be mailed first class or at the nonprofit rate?
The answers to these questions will influence creative design. This input will help the creative design team to know if the audience will have the desire or need to scrutinize detailed text, or whether concise bulleted information is preferable. It will also help University Relations to anticipate distribution method and printing decisions.
4. What is your budget?
A project should be planned prior to the budget approval process so that a budget number and appropriate funds can be identified. If projects have not been planned in time for budget approval, you must obtain clearance from your dean or director and the AVP of Marketing and Communications. Please have a budget number ready when you meet with an University Relations' Marketing and Communications representative to begin development of your print communication, and confirm that funds are in your budget once you receive an estimate for your project. Budget is one of the most important input questions and should be discussed before a design is developed. This will give the creative design team a framework by which to develop an appropriate design that your budget can support. So that appropriate recommendations can be made on format, paper size, etc. Always discuss the quantity you will need to produce and the budget with a University Relations' Department of Marketing and Communications representative. This way there will not be unhappy surprises for you or for the creative design team.
5. What message are you trying to convey?
This question relates to the purpose of your communication and the audience. Obviously, you want your audience to relate to, and be motivated by, your communication.
6. When is it due?
University Relations requires a minimum of six weeks or 30 working days to produce your project. When planning your project you must remember to include the required editing, design, and production time in order to receive your material when needed.
7. How much copy do you have and who is writing it?
Before you meet with representatives from the University Relations Department, you should decide who will be writing the copy for your piece. If you need the services of an outside copywriter, be sure this service is budgeted. A University Relations representative can review copywriting estimates with you. If you decide to provide the copy yourself, you must have the copy in its final stage before meeting with University Relations. Many times both graphic designer and client are frustrated by the number of revisions a job must go through because the copy length is either greater or less than originally anticipated.
New communications always benefit from a planning session. The development of new, complex communications sometimes requires researching the copy, developing a complete marketing plan, and formulating a production timeline. Depending upon the complexity of the printing specifications and whether photographs need to be taken, design concepts and estimates may require additional time. You are encouraged to bring samples of communications materials that appeal to you to your planning session with University Relations. The University Relations staff will make every effort to help you produce your communication in a timely and cost-efficient manner. If you will be producing many communications during the year or have a special event or project, you will want to meet with us well in advance to determine a timetable and to develop a specific client portfolio plan.
As a guideline, please plan for no fewer than 30 working days from project initiation to delivery. Communications that are planned ahead of time receive first priority during our busy production schedules.